Japanese, U.S. chip makers set date on private-sector talks

Associations representing the Japanese and American semiconductor industries will hold their first private-sector-level meeting next month with possible participation by their counterparts in Europe, Canada and South Korea.

The Electronic Industries Association of Japan and the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association announced Mar. 12 that the Semiconductor Council’s first meeting will be held on April 11 in Hawaii. In August last year, the SIA and the EIAJ signed an agreement to create the multilateral council to discuss chip trade and industrial cooperation, following the decision by the Japanese and U.S. governments not to renew the bilateral chip agreement that expired in July.

An EIAJ spokesman said it is possible that the U.S. will again bring up the controversial issue of measuring foreign chips’ share in the Japanese market. But, he added, Japan will also insist that Washington abolish its method of evaluating the Japanese market’s openness, which defines “foreign” chips in terms of the original nationality of the brand or the supplier instead of by the country of production.

The private-sector agreement said that industrial associations from countries other than Japan and the U.S. would be eligible to join the council if their governments eliminate or pledge to eliminate all chip tariffs.